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Hamburg, officially Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg (Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg), is the second largest city in Germany and the eighth largest city in the European Union. It is the second smallest German state by area. Its population is over 1.7 million people, and the wider Hamburg Metropolitan Region covers more than 5.1 million inhabitants. The city is situated on the river Elbe. The official long name reflects Hamburg's history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire, a city-state, and one of the 16 states of Germany. Before the 1871 Unification of Germany, it was a fully sovereign state. Prior to the constitutional changes in 1919, the civic republic was ruled by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Hanseaten.
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